Jack Brabham began his Formula 1 racing career in 1955, and just a few years later, in 1959 and 1960, he won the World Championship behind the wheel of a Cooper Climax. In 1961, he joined with Ron Touranac to set up Motor Racing Developments for the purpose of building racing cars. In 1962, Brabham's contract with Cooper ended and he was able to use his own surname. Brabham Racing Developments built the cars while the Brabham Racing Organization ran the works team.
It took only a few years for the young Brabham Racing team to achieve a string of impressive victories. In 1966, they had four wins in a row at Reims, Brands Hatch, Zandvoort, and the Nurburgring. This accomplishment made Brabham the only individual to win the World Championship driving a car of his own make.
At the close of the 1970 season, Brabham retired from racing, his last race victory in one of his own cars coming in South Africa that year. In honor of his achievements and racing career, he was later knighted.
The prefix of BT on the Brabham racing cars stood for Brabham-Touranac. Ron ran the team until the end of 1971 when it was sold to Bernie Ecclestone.
The Brabham BT36
was a development of the BT35 and built using space-frame construction. It had an outboard suspension and inboard brakes. The GRP body was innovative, aerodynamic, and light weight.
In total, 9 examples of the BT36 were built, plus a BT36x which was powered by a Repco V8 engine and used in Hillclimb competition. The car was built for Mike Mike MacDowel and won the 1973 and 1974 British Hill Climb Championship. The other 9 cars were built to Formula 2 specification.
The BT36 was followed by the Brabham BT38
Formula 2 race car in 1972. In total, 16 examples were built, followed by 5 examples of the BT38B Formula B and 14 of the BT38C Formula 3. The BT38 was the first post-Tauranac design and featured a monocoque chassis.
In 1973, Brabham introduced the BT40.
Twenty-eight examples were built, nine for F2 and 19 for Formula B competition. The Geoff Ferris designed F2 racer was similar in design to the previous BT38 F2 car. It had a full monocoque chassis comprised of 16 gauge NS4 inner and outer skins. The tubular sub-frame was clothed in a body that was molded from fiberglass and given a Formula 1 style wing with built-in curling railing edge. The suspension was a conventional setup with coil spring damper units mounted outboard and riding on magnesium alloy wheels.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2011